The Minor League Baseball season is now seven weeks in. That seemed like a good time to take a look back at the offseason Cincinnati Reds prospect rankings and see who has, and who hasn’t improved their stock with the early season performance.

Which Reds prospects have improved their value the most?

While remembering that this is only looking at the Top 25 Prospects entering the season, there are a few guys that jump up to the top of the list and three of the four guys are sitting on the Daytona Tortugas roster. Taylor Trammell, Tyler Stephenson, and Tony Santillan have all performed very well to start the season.

Taylor Trammell got out to a slow start in the 2017 season, but as the season went along he just kept improving. In 2018 he’s just continued with where he left off and then some. In the very pitcher friendly Florida State League the 20-year-old outfielder has hit .296/.403/.489 on the season. That’s come along with a higher walk rate and lower walk rate than he showed in Dayton.

For catcher Tyler Stephenson it’s much of the same as well. His triple-slash levels are up across the board in Daytona. He’s hitting .299/.390/.460 on the season. His walk rate and strikeout rates are similar to where they were last season, but his power has gone up despite the move to a more difficult hitting environment. That’s power that has been waiting to come out since he was drafted.

On the mound it’s been Tony Santillan that’s stood out in Daytona. The recently turned 21-year-old has posted a 2.05 ERA through eight starts and 44.0 innings. Control has been the biggest thing that has help the right hander back in the past. To this point in the season he’s pretty much pounded the strikezone. His walk rate this year is just 6.6% and it’s never been below 10.5% at any other point in his career (2017). With elite level stuff, his improvements in control, his stock is certainly up.

Up in Pensacola it’s Shed Long that’s making the move on up. While his first half in 2017 was very strong in Daytona, but he struggled in Pensacola in the second half, hitting just .227/.319/.362 in 160 plate appearances. This season, back in Pensacola, he’s put all of that behind him and he’s hit .293/.358/.493. The power is back and he is showing solid plate discipline to go with it.

Which Reds prospects have their stock down?

While technically not a prospect any longer, the guy at the top of the list could be Jesse Winker. Or maybe not depending on exactly how would want to look at it. Mired in a slump, he’s currently hitting .244/.344/.311 on the season. He’s walked nearly as often as he’s struck out, and his on-base percentage is above-average. But, he’s not hitting for average right now, and his slugging percentage is Billy Hamilton-esque. And while this is more on the Reds for playing him out of position, his defense in right field has been less than stellar. Overall, at least right at this moment, his stock is down.

Jose Garcia has been hitting better over the last week, but his current line with the Dayton Dragons is .180/.224/.223 with five walks and 33 strikeouts in 37 games played. It’s been a struggle for the first-year pro from Cuba. There have been flashes on both sides of the field. Over the weekend he made an outstanding defensive play showing off good range and a very strong arm. The bat is showing signs of life, too. There was a lot of time off between time in Cuba and his time in Dayton, which could explain some of the rust in his game.

Miles Gordon hit .319/.389/.530 in 2017 with the Billings Mustangs. This season, though, he’s hitting just .200/.304/.286. It’s been interesting, though, because diving into the numbers he’s walking more frequently and he’s striking out less than he did last year. But his power has fallen off to this point in the season. If his batting average on balls in play improves from it’s current .245 things will start looking better than they currently are. With that, and his declined power output though, things are down mostly across the board.


78 Responses

  1. Simon Cowell

    Hunter Greene? How about Nick Senzel due to health concerns?

    • Wes

      I’ll adress the 10 ton pink elephant in the room. Senzel hasn’t dropped much in reference to reds or national rankings but in reference to the roster plans/expectations this year and long term – reds have to be adjusting for senzels vertigo.

      What concerns me the most about it is the lack and depth of info coming out. We have to assume that the dizzy spells have continued since he’s not back. We don’t know the treatment plan and if it’s being effective or not. We don’t know what he dealt w at end of season when it came up first time and what kept him out or if he experienced any side effects this offseason. When you are sent to extended spring training it’s usually coming off a major injury- why is he there? Weather maybe ?

      Highly unlikely senzel plays in cincy this year outside of a sept call up. The chance he doesn’t play all season increases daily w lack of info. And the chance of this ruining his career is real. 10 months ago he looked like a 10x all star on the verge of an amazing career- this is by far the worst situation for reds in 2018.

      • Doug Gray

        He’s in Arizona right now. He’s there because he hasn’t faced live pitching in a few weeks and that’s where you go to see it again.

      • Madison mike

        This is definitely concerning but it should be manageable. In 2014 a had a situation like this. It was diagnosed as benign positional vertigo. It was the worst two weeks of my life. Room spinning from the the time I woke up until I went to sleep. Constant nausea. It came back once about 10 months later but I’m glad to say it hasn’t since. I was even able to go to cedar point last year and ride everything with no issue. But I will say for a couple years I was constantly worry about any dizzy feeling I had. Let’s hope with meds and treatment he can overcome this and be the player we all hope him to be. While

    • Doug Gray

      No one I’ve talked to really thinks Hunter Greene’s stock is down much at all. The numbers are what they are, and they aren’t good (the strikeouts are good), but no one seems to be all that concerned about the long term future with him.

      With Senzel, I haven’t talked to as many people about, but from my perspective, I never thought he’s wind up not experiencing an issue again because I actually read about what he was dealing with before and knew it was a possibility. So, I’m not sure it’s changed a thing.

    • Bill Anderson

      Hunter Greene represents the failing of “fan analysis”. The only reason he is in Dayton, is due to the Reds wanting him to throw a full year. My guess he goes down into rookie ball and puts up good numbers, returns to Dayton next year……….and puts up good numbers. Starts high A as a 20 year old and really makes a move imo. Starts AAA as a 21 year old.

      • MK

        Think that might have been a better plan from the start but you have to think the kid has been put on such a pedestal that it could create a mental thing.

      • Bob Anderson

        I really doubt it. He is throwing strikes up in the zone and it is up to the fates after that. Just getting on top of that will carry him to AAA.

  2. Cguy

    I’d say Keury Mella’s stock is up quite a bit. T.J. Friedl is looking good. After being taken off the 40 man roster & clearing waivers, Dilson Hererra’s having a nice season @ Pensacola & now @ Louisville. You can’t say his stock is up, since his value plummeted in the spring. I’d still like to see Dilson get an extended look in Cincy this season, since I believe the Reds will lose him if they don’t put him back on the 40 man roster.

    • ABado

      None of the guys you mentioned are on Doug’s top 25 list.

      • Cguy

        It’s true that I can’t find Dilson Hererra on any of Doug’s top 25 lists. On the other hand, TJ Friedl appears at #21 (Post 2016) & #17 (mid 2017) Top 25 lists. Keury Mella appears as #12 (Post 2015 list) & #18 (Post 2016 list). I’d give both Hererra & Mella a better than 50% chance of playing at least some ML baseball in 2019. Friedl, it’ still too soon to tell, but he’s about ready for a promotion to AA.

    • Tom B.

      Absolutely agree about Dilson Herrera. What in the world do the Reds have to lose at this point? Otherwise, the Reds basically just gave Jay Bruce to the Mets.

      • Cguy

        Strangely enough, there was a Max Wotell sighting in the Dayton game yesterday. Evidently Max pitched an inning. so we got that from the Bruce deal. I like the way Blandino has been playing lately & Scooter is Scooter, but if the Reds don’t give Dilson a couple hundred AB this year, it could come back to haunt them-big time.

    • Stock

      Great point CGuy. I would include Nay and Clementia to your list. Clementia, Nay and Mella are three guys not in Doug’s top 25 last fall that should be now. Maybe Doug will do an article at some point on players moving into the top 25.

      Herrera is not a prospect but agree about him also. Good post.

    • Hoosierbadger

      I agree on Herrera, but doubt it happens with the logjam at 2B. Blandino is playing pretty well. The only chance is if the Reds move Scooter, which they should but probably won’t do.

  3. David

    It’s early, but the Reds are getting next to nothing after blowing their international bonus wad a year or so ago. Vlad Gutierrez? Meh. Jose Garcia? Meh. Alfredo Rodriguez? Meh.
    There is certainly time for that to turn around, but early returns are not promising. That was a whole lot of money for not much performance so far.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ve still got faith in Gutierrez and Garcia despite the performance. You can see the parts with each guy to make it work.

    • Hanawi

      Their international scouting seems to be a complete joke. And it’s really an area where a small market team should be investing heavily. The Reds philosophy in this area seemed to mirror the “rebuild” overall. Try to get Cubans that are closer to the majors rather than build with higher ceiling prospects.

      • Cguy

        Yeah, Juan Duran & YRod never did quite work out. Nobody said “lottery-picks” when they were signed. Whether we’re 3, 4, or 5 years into this rebuild, what I find most distressing is that the Reds next above replacement to great ss may not yet be in the organization. Sad.

      • Doug Gray

        I think you’re underestimating things on two fronts. One, I don’t think it’s the scouting part internationally that’s the issue. It’s the historical lack of money spent that’s the problem. The Yankees in one year, 2014, signed more guys for $750,000+ than the Cincinnati Reds have in the last decade. You can scout with the best of them, but if you aren’t able to write the checks to sign guys, it doesn’t matter.

        And two, signing the Cuban guys, in theory, is smart. They are closer, and they are far less risky. In theory, at least. The other thing is, you don’t need some special relationship dating back 10 years with the Cuban’s agent to even get to talk to them. You do in Latin America in most cases.

        The Reds seemed to finally open up and spend some money the last few years before the rules changed. But prior to them signing Miguel Hernandez and Cristian Olivo, it had been years and years since they even spent $500,000 on one player.

  4. The Duke

    I’d probably include Jeter Downs in the up category. His average could be higher, but he’s taking walks, hitting for more power, and is running the bases well. The K rate is higher than you’d like to see it, but I think that can come down with more experience much the same way that Taylor Trammell’s did last year.

    Vlad Gutierrez has been disappointing so far. He’s been very hittable so far this year, and may end up a bullpen arm so he can concentrate on one offspeed pitch and let the fastball play up a bit in a shorter role.

    • RobL

      I agree that Jeter his hitting very well and would lead to a trend up. But has the beginning of the season led people to believe that a move down the defensive spectrum is only a matter of time? I haven’t seen him so my opinion means nothing. I would think Doug and MK would have much better insight.

      • The Duke

        I might not make it to a Dragons game before July, so I can’t speak to how he’s looking defensively. I will say that don’t get hung up on error counts on a 19 year old in A ball. The biggest things to look for right now is if the range will play and if he has the requisite arm strength. With those two things workable, the glove work and throwing accuracy can be improved with instruction and reps. If a player doesn’t have the range or arm for the spot, there isn’t much you can do about that.

    • Doug Gray

      I actually went through and gave everyone an “up-even-down” ranking on my end of things so I could then look at who I wanted to write about.

      I put Downs at even. The bat is up, but the defense, at least thus far, has been worse than advertised, and by quite a bit. Doesn’t mean it can’t improve, because I’ve absolutely seen some bad defenders turn into solid ones. But right now, his defense is not anywhere near what I was expecting. And that’s with the assumption that he wasn’t likely to be a shortstop long term.

    • MK

      I have seen Jeter a lot so far this year and I don’t know what the Reds think, but to me he looks much more comfortable at second base than shortstop.Even my wife who has 20+ years experience judging talent as a high school coach’s wife said the other day she thought he looked awful good at second.

  5. ABado

    The silver lining for Garcia and Gordon is that there are clear reasons for their early season struggles. They are both young even for low-A ball. Garcia hasn’t played competitively in a while. Gordon is from Canada and typically players from cold weather take longer to develop. And in addition to his good walk rate, Gordon is also stealing more bases this year.

    They are having disappointing starts, but there’s still lots of reason for optimism.

    • Stock

      Agreed Abado. I don’t know about the Canadian bit but Garcia is being exposed to game situations for the first time in a while. Hopefully this last series is the start of the reversal.

      • kevinz

        Yea Gordon doing good handling the Zone finally getting results last week or so hitting over 300. Garcia has looked much better at the plate last 4-5 games took some walks plus some liners up the middle taken some pitches which has helped.

      • Alex

        Garcia is also in a new country. I imagine that has to be alot to adjust to for a 19 year old as well.

  6. ABado

    Other guys with diminishing stock from Doug’s list: Gavin LaValley, Nick Longhi, and Jesus Reyes, Aristides Aquino.

    Blandino’s stock seems to have risen a bit, given he’s holding his own in the majors.

    • The Duke

      I think Blandino will be a Red for a good 5-6 years in a utility role a la Chris Heisey. Good all around ball player that might be able to improve and stick if the opportunity arises.

    • Doug Gray

      The four mentioned guys did get a “down” grade on my end. Blandino I left at even, though I’m perfectly fine with the idea that others want to say he’s up a little bit.

    • Dbfromnva

      Caught a couple games at Pensacola last month and the only guy that impressed me was Long. I know it was a SSS but there were quite a few prospects on that team that I didn’t see much from.

    • MK

      Watching on milb-tv I thought LaValley looked like his conditioning took a big step forward in 2017 but watching lately he does not look as toned as last year. Wonder if this could be playing into a drop off, Think this will always be a struggle for him as it is for a lot of people.

  7. Hoyce

    Doug- do u ever think about doing an armchair GM article? Or an armchair MLB commissioner article??
    With this season lost for the reds I’m sure the die yards have many ideas on how to improve the reds and baseball in general. I think u would get a ton of comments and reads. (And after all- isn’t that the point of ur site?)
    Then u could discuss pros/cons of the interesting ideas.
    Like for instance- #1 thing I would change about baseball is to go to automated strike zones. These incompetent umps are killing the reds young pitchers w their inconsistent strike zones.

    • Stock

      Didn’t Doug do an armchair GM last week with the Seattle trade? As for the automated strike zone, I am not sure why it has a negative impact on our pitchers and not others. Also I would think the umpires in the majors are the best and most consistent they have ever had.
      Finally, isn’t this what they grew up with? If they have not learned to adjust by now they have much bigger problems.

      • Hoyce

        For one young pitchers get screwed over. And veterans get the calls. And reds run out a bunch of young pitchers. Minus homerun bailey.
        But I think umps are terrible across the board. One time they call the high strike. Another day they don’t. An automated strike zone would regulate the zone and take the guesswork out of it for both the hitters and pitchers. Creating a better product imo

      • Hoyce

        And no it isn’t what “they grew up with”. The strike zone is very different from little league to high school to minor league to pros

      • Stock

        It may be different at different levels but I would think it is much more consistent in the pro’s. If what you say is true then all young pitchers are at a disadvantage so it is still fair. That does not mean these pitchers should not be able to adjust. Other young pithers do. But I don’t think young pitchers are at a disadvantage like you do. Do some veterans get the benefit of the doubt. I think so. I think Joey Votto is more likely to get the benefit of the doubt vs. other players not because of his age but his reptutation. Overall it is fair and different umpires have different strikezones.

        I agree that you may have a better product if the strike zone were automated. But I don’t think not having one puts Reds pitchers at a disadvantage.

    • Doug Gray

      If I wrote an armchair GM article it would never end. I’ve got so many ideas, Hoyce!

      But sort of to Stock’s point below – I do a lot of that kind of stuff throughout the season, just never as one big, large thing.

      I’ll give you this free one: I’d go to an automated strikezone with a quickness, even though people far smarter than me tell me that they don’t think the pitch tracking is good enough to do so.

      • Hoyce

        As far as the pitch tracking goes- I’d counter with “it has to be better than the current umps”.
        And as fast as tech develops. It won’t be long before it’s darn near perfect. And I think it will inevitably come to be

      • Hoyce

        Also I would say. I think u should put all ur ideas out there. U never know who’s reading. Maybe something sticks or someone important really likes ur ideas and leads to something even bigger for u.

      • MK

        Maybe we could just have play station players as well then all you would have to worry about is hiring the best offensive and defensive gamers to play the game and the fans can just watch the games on the giant scoreboard video boards.

      • Hoyce

        What kind of spin rate do these “gamers” possess?

  8. kevinz

    Nice write up Doug. Thinking at the moment Trammell moved to number 1 Prospect while Senzel stock is Down with not playing plus didnt light it up when has played so far this year.

    • The Duke

      I still have Senzel #1, but I could see the argument for Trammell over Greene.

      • Stock

        I think Trammell is working his way into the top 25 prospects for sure.

      • kevinz

        I’m thinking it closer than People thought Trammell has better tools than Senzel other than Arm but it is Very close. Greene to me all Hype but surely hope lives up to it for Our Reds Sake

      • The Duke

        Senzel has a better hit tool, arm, and defense (as much as you can compare across positions like that), and the power is probably pretty even. Trammell is faster, but not by as much as one might think.

      • kevinz

        Could be right Duke I think The hit tool closer now than was when year started plus Trammell a LHH which adds to advantage you face many more RHP than LHP .
        The Defense thing is close if Senzel was a SS the value would be much Higher on that end to push Senzel Defense over Trammell .
        when Trammell is Senzel’s age who knows what type of Power he shows by then could be more or minimal a wash so like i said it Very close between the two just IMO though lol

      • abado

        I love Trammell, but Greene’s pure talent and relative youth (even to the young-for-his-level Trammell) is unmatched in the Reds system. He’s not even 19 and his strikeout rate is off the charts.

  9. Kindell

    With everything we are dealing with as Reds fans this season, Trammell is a big win. The 2016 draft was loaded with HS OF talent. There were 5 taken ahead of Trammell, including the #1 overall pick.

    There is a long way to go, but it looks like Trammell and Kirilloff are head and shoulders above the others from that class. If Senzel can get through his Vertigo issues, that can be the type of draft to build around.

  10. Hoyce

    Trammell reminds me of a poor mans andrew mccutcheon. And that would be a real good thing

    • Stock

      Good comp but take out the poor man bit. Similar speed/power combination. Trammell is showing a much better ability to take a walk than McCutchen. Trammell has a 14.5% BB% and McCutchen has never had a BB% that high.

      Trammell’s ISO in the FSL (Pitcher league) is .193. Cutch didn’t have an ISO of .193 until he was 25.

      Trammell’s OPS is .892. McCutchen’s three seasons with an OPS greater than .892 were his age 25 – 27 seasons. He just happened to finish 3rd/1st/3rd in MVP voting those 3 season.

      I would be happy if Trammell were as good as McCutchen. But I would not be surprised if he were better.

      • Hoyce

        Hope u are right. But since mccutcheon will be talked about for Hall of Fame. I wasn’t ready to go there for Trammell

    • Kap

      I say more Dexter Fowler. Tall, lanky, athlertic, power potential, can handle center but more suited for a corner.

      • Stock

        Fowler does not have the power Trammell has. Trammell’s ISO of .193 as a 20 year old in A+ is much better than Fowler’s .094 ISO as a 21 year old in A+ ball. I like Hoyce’s comp. Trammell and McCutchen match up well in power and speed. Trammell takes more BB and may have slightly more power than McCutchen but they are very similar. His last 4 years at Coors field Fowler’s ISO was .145 – .174. Trammell is exceeding that this year and did so last year after May 1.

  11. MikeD

    I think that Tyler Stephenson is not far behind the aforementioned trio of players mentioned. His walk to strikeout ratio is super impressive for a young player and he has a lot of power in his bat. Not knowing enough about his glove, but I believe because of his position, he has as great a value as Taylor. Now, I think they both are moving toward top 25 overall.

  12. George Culver

    No word on Brandon Dixon – who is currently leading the Louisville Bats in hitting at .328 – more than .015 higher then any other Bats hitter. Curious how he stacks up.

    • asinghoff

      I’m guessing his age is the biggest reason for that since he’s 26 years old.

  13. Andy

    Down: every pitching prospect that Doug ranked from 2008*-present in his historical top 25 list page. The organization either has impossibly bad luck or is inept at developing MLB quality starting pitching. Reading in his top 25 rankings tab, I see: successful MLB starter that was traded then became reasonably priced FA (Mike Leake, didn’t spend a day in minors), successful MLB starter that was injured (Desclafani-who didn’t spend any time in Reds Milb system), guys who couldn’t stay in rotation but have been valuable in bullpen (Iglesias, Lorenzen, Garrett, and Cingrani), 3 current MLB starters performing at replacement level/~0WAR- (Castillo, Mahle, Romano), guys who had a chance at MLB level and couldn’t stick (BobSteve, Cody Reed, John Lamb, Rookie Davis, Jon Moscot, Jackson Stephens), guys who are still prospects (Gutierrez, Mella, Santillan), guys who have faded to oblivion without any contribution (Travieso, Howard, Corcino), and finally the guy we are (foolishly based on history?) counting on to be better than every one else, Hunter Greene. I’ve been reading this site for years now, because dreaming of the future was better than enduring the present, but one-by-one, they all fail to become solid MLB starter. Sigh.
    *Doug ranked 2007 as well and that list included Cueto and Bailey. That’s outside of 10 years so I’m leaving it out.

    • Bill Anderson

      Most prospects don’t work out. Many guys transfer to the bullpen at some point. Stephenson is sorta in limbo where he performed well during the 2 months last season and was treated “not so good” next spring and they promoted Mahle over him in the pecking order. If I was Bobby, I would start pressing the Reds to start me or trade me. The Reds have a bunch of players that possibly need moved. I would definitely count Suarez among that group. Trading him and Gennet would open the infeld up big time while you fortify the rotation for example. Everything you do in baseball is a gamble, the Reds have acted like scared kids.

      • Bill Anderson

        I will also add, the Mes/Harvey trade was the Reds doing what I posted above. That was on a very small scale though. The big moves are still to come.

      • kevinz

        I agree Bill even though like Suarez alot any Reds Player can be dealt for the right price .
        if offered right price need to find Pitching lock that down. Pitching needed before The Daytona Boys come up to take over the team and the NL Central

  14. AirborneJayJay

    If the drafting philosophy is to draft the best player available no matter what, then what happens if Casey Mize and Singer are drafted somewhere in the first 4 picks?
    Casey Mize: RH, 9-4, 2.94 ERA, 95.0 IP, 31 ER, 10 BB, 133 K. unknown # HR.
    Brady Singer: RH, 10-1, 2.25 ERA, 88.0 IP, 22 ER, 7 HR, 18 BB, 92 K.
    Logan Gilbert: RH, 9-1, 2.61 ERA, 93.0 IP, 27 ER, 7 HR, 20 BB, 134 K.
    Luke Heimlich: LH, 13-1, 2.69 ERA, 97.0 IP, 29 ER, 3 HR, 19 BB, 129 K.
    If you could get Gilbert at #5 under slot and then Heimlich at #47 over slot it would be a heck of a draft. It would have been super to have had a Comp. Balance pick this year somewhere in the 30’s. Gilbert won’t be around at #47 and it is very likely that Heimlich + baggage won’t be either. Without the baggage, Heimlich is a top-5 player. Other than Madrigal, I am not sure there is a college bat that is worthy at #5. India, Bohm and Swaggerty are all slumping a little. Oregon St. RF Trevor Larnach is rising up the boards but maybe not all the way to #5.
    Heimlich should deserve a second chance and hopefully he can get it at #47. Somebody else will probably give him that second chance a bit earlier though. I don’t know if the Reds can risk taking him at #5, but he is certainly a top-5 talent.

    • Hoyce

      Ohhhhhh man. Don’t get Doug started on heimlich. His blood pressure is starting to rise.

    • RobL

      Please stop with Heimlich. Regardless of personal feelings, he will probably go undrafted, and certainly not by the Reds. And to top it off, you feel that a college senior with radioactive baggage needs overslot money is insane. Just stop.

    • kevinz

      Not gonna Speculate on Pitchers to take feel like much better judge of Hitters.
      If take a hitter at 5 hope its Tiny nick Connor Scott or India feel like all have BR Instincts especially the 2 college players I want as many + baserunners with Instincts as we can add whether 1st rd or 40th rd. Bad Fundamental baseball and baserunning been going on too long dont need speed to be one just smart savy aggressive.

    • gttrojan

      trust me on this Mize is a no no Tommy john waiting to happen, already had flexor strain issues and his arm trails because of stiff hips,
      remember you heard it here first!

  15. kyblu50

    Please tell me who in the last five years of our top 3 picks have been star players? So, we have a draft expert leading us Right.

    • kevinz

      I thought only had 2 so far Senzel and Greene unless i missed something?
      They Both still have a chance to be star type players.

  16. Cguy

    I’ m not going to go so far as to call the Reds FO incompetent or inept. In disarray & unfocused seems a more accurate description. I’ll save the incompetent & inept stuff for 2020.

  17. kyblu50

    What I meant was the first 3 rounds per year the last 5 years.

    • kevinz

      Oh ok that makes more Sense but think to soon to tell since most in past five years are to young to tell you could be right though KY